How much do designers earn?



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The word “designer” today means quite a bit more than it did even just a few years ago.

Unfortunately, one look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and it’s clear the vast change the design world has seen over the last decade or so isn’t reflected in the roles and titles BLS highlights. “Graphic designer” doesn’t even begin to cover it anymore.

It makes sense, then, that the design world jumped on statistics we shared in the 2016 Product Design Report surrounding compensation and benefits.

The big takeaway? The average annual salary for a designer, in any discipline, is $80,606.


Designers working in-house reported making the most, at more than $84,000 on average, with startup designers averaging just under $80,000.

Freelancers hover around $73,000 annually. Designers working at agencies or education companies, though, come in at nearly $20,000 less than the rest—$63,900 and $60,611 on average, respectively. Designers working at government organizations check in at just under $56,000 a year.

Dissect the roles encompassed within “designer” and the numbers are even more telling.

The top paid designer “type”? Product designers, at just under $90,000. Just behind are usability testing and research designers, who come in at a bit over $87,000.

Compare that with the average salary of a conceptual designer ($47,432) or that of an industrial designer, the lowest paid as reported by report respondents ($44,214).

Want to know more about what salaries designers within specific roles can expect? Dive into the 2016 Product Design Report for even more details.


Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this blog post, an image we shared included incorrect information related to the breakdown of salaries at various organization types as related to gender. We apologize for the mistake and have corrected the post above to reflect official numbers from the report.


Kayleigh Karutis
Kayleigh got her start as a news reporter, and she still considers that time she wrote the entire paper among her greatest achievements.

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